Verizon Ventures and The Boeing Company’s Boeing HorizonX investment arm think Austin-based SparkCognition is at the forefront of advancements in artificial intelligence. And they’re betting big.
Verizon Ventures led SparkCognition’s $32.5 million Series B round, which also drew key investment from Boeing’s HorizonX unit. That comes atop the $16 million SparkCognition has raised from Michael Dell’s private equity group, MSD Capital, The Entrepreneur’s Fund, CME Ventures and others.
The company, founded by Amir Husain in 2013, uses machine learning to analyze and predict security breaches and system failures. Many of its customers are in industries with massive cybersecurity needs, including aerospace, defense, telecommunications and energy.
“SparkCognition has pioneered the use of artificial intelligence to bring unparalleled advancements to many of the world’s Fortune 1000 companies,” Vijay Doradla, director at Verizon Ventures, said in a news release. “We are thrilled to invest in SparkCognition again, and look forward to supporting the company as it continues to transform markets and the businesses of tomorrow.”
In April 2016, SparkCognition raised a $6 million round that was described as a Series B. It was actually a Series A3, the company says. Monday’s $32.5 million round marks the start of the Series B round. It is the largest round of venture capital funding reported by an Austin-based startup so far in 2017. Zilliant, which makes predictive sales guidance and business optimization software, raised $30 million in April.
SparkCognition says it will use the new funds to rapidly expand its solutions to catch up with demand and branch out deeper into the oil and gas, utility and national security sectors.
“Security continues to be a burning need for customers, and continued breaches and hacks reiterate the inefficacy of current market offerings,” Doradla said.
Husain, SparkCognition’s CEO, said having Verizon and Boeing back his company shows how important AI is to the future of large, industry leading companies.
“The world is well on its way to an AI-powered revolution – where cognitive systems will truly augment human capabilities, but at machine speed and big data scale,” he said in the news release. “Our real world deployments and on the ground successes speak to the broad applicability of SparkCognition’s AI technology, and the tremendous promise of AI in general.”